February 18, 2022

By Jill Hollingsworth, VP, Food Safety and Retail Industry Relations, Ecolab


In August 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services launched Healthy People 2030, the fifth iteration of this initiative. The plan lays out a set of national goals and measurable objectives to guide policies, programs, and actions for the next 10 years to improve the health and well-being of all Americans. Among the many goals is the directive to improve food handling practices and enhance the safety of our food supply.

There are 19 food safety objectives in total, some of which are targeted toward consumer behaviors, others are pathogen or food specific, and one set targets best practices in retail delis. Following is a partial list of objectives that are of particular interest to retailers.

Reduce infections caused by:

  • Campylobacter
  • Shiga toxin-producing coli
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Salmonella
  • Norovirus

Reduce outbreaks linked to:

  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Dairy
  • Fruits and nuts
  • Leafy greens

In retail store delis, increase the number of:

  • Food employees who practice proper handwashing
  • Food contact surfaces that are properly cleaned and sanitized
  • Foods requiring refrigeration that are held at the proper temperature
  • Foods displayed or stored hot that are held at the proper temperature


Government agencies, including CDC, USDA and FDA created a Food Safety Working Group to spearhead the development of action steps to meet these objectives.

Three subgroups were created to specifically target the following priority goals:

  • Reduce STEC ( E. coli) infections linked to leafy greens
  • Reduce Salmonella in poultry
  • Prevent and control Norovirus in retail and food service

As more information on the action plans and the work of the subgroups becomes available, we’ll be sharing it with you.


Although all these food safety objectives are important to retailers, the emphasis placed on preventing and controlling Norovirus in retail is critical. According to CDC estimates, 21 million cases of acute gastroenteritis are due to Norovirus infections, and Norovirus is responsible for 58% of foodborne illnesses. Food workers are responsible for about 70% of Norovirus outbreaks due to contaminated food. 

Be sure you are aware of the FDA Food Code recommendations and your state requirements for preventing and controlling the spread of Norovirus including the exclusion of workers with Norovirus and/or its symptoms, and a detailed procedure for cleaning and disinfecting after a vomiting or diarrheal event.


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